Cettinje, 9 May 1911. A young girl, whose first name corresponds to that of the maid of Orleans - Jeanne d'Arc, is now sung in the poems of Montenegrin rhapsodies, in inns and cafes of Podgorica.
When at the battle of Vranina (Vranje) last week his father, the hereditary commander of his lineage, fell, she took her place and brought the Martinaj to victory against the Turks.
Beyond the romantic part of this affair, given that Yanizza Martinaj is very beautiful, the battle has proved important given that the Montenegrins of the border have joined the Albanians.
According to a person who knew her personally, this novel Giovanna D'Arco does not yet have 22 years, and is “a tall, beautiful and well-formed young woman. All Albanian women are courageous and trained since their adolescence to use firearms and, in time of war, in the absence of mules, they load on their shoulders the provisions and ammunition for their soldiers and go to distribute them in the front line. "
"And are they killed sometimes?"
"Of course, it happens often."
"Yanizza probably brought a Martinaj rifle; or, since many of those of the Martinajs were confiscated by the Turks the previous year, his weapon should have been perhaps among the oldest Albanian models, decorated handsomely with silver and with a very long and narrow barrel.
Shooting is almost the only fun of young men and women in Albania. Both girls and boys learn to shoot at 12 years. At weddings the participants have fun dancing and shooting, and even on the occasion of new births firing with firearms remains the main fun - hitting the target for some small trophy - and at the holidays there are shots all day.
This is one of the greatest difficulties that the Turks have to face, because this is part of national life; people use their guns by day and sleep by night. The custom has grown with the prevalence of insecurity due to internal vendettas and out-of-country border problems. "Physically the Albanians are the most graceful breed in Europe.
Their women are beautiful, with dark hair, although their eyes are often gray. Seeing them walking is a delight. We like to see dancing in Serbia. The first time I saw an Albanian walking, he gave me the same kind of pleasure. Their movements are so graceful: elegant and strong at the same time ”.
"Yes, they are a very fine and very gifted breed. They are like the seventeenth-century Scots, and they will gradually be the most refined race in the Balkans, both intellectually and physically. If you go to Constantinople you will find that many of the most distinguished men, not only soldiers but also statesmen, are Albanians.
Their flaw, given their current level of civilization, is that they do not grasp the idea of a state. The clan is their highest form of organization, they fail to see the importance of combining the clan with a more developed organization for the construction of a state. But they will get there. "
The article published on May 9 of 1911 from New York Times, represents a piece of the history of the Albanians at the time of the insurrections against what remained of the Ottoman Empire and for the cause of reunification of the national territories. There is also an important descriptive aspect that takes up the epic nature and social life of a nation that will be born from there in a year; in the 1912.
Even more important is the reincarnation of a Joan of Arc, as an essential part of the role of women in the history of the Albanian national team.
Yanizza Martinaj is Tringa Smail Martini Ivazaj
Some historical data published by the Malaysian and Madhe region show that Tringa was born in the village of Ksheve in the 1870, daughter of commander Smail Martini of Gruda, who was part of the Albanian League of Prizren. His father is sentenced for patriotic reasons in the 1883 by a Turkish court, and deported to Anatolia from where he will never return.
The two brothers, Zefi and Gjoni, later died in a battle against the Montenegrins for the protection of Hot and Grude. To this, Tringa together with his cousin, now a leader of Gruda, Dedë Nikë Ivezaj, and to keep his word to his father, joins the army of the Malesori (Montagna di Montagna) led by the heroic Ded Gjo Luli, honoring the his house.
The girl is remembered as a mixed-looking young woman with a rifle (adhti) always ready to cross body, and a refined and beautiful woman who refuses to dress like a man as he used to do in the army.
The "Burrnesha" (woman with moral qualities of a man) not only takes the role of the father in the affairs of the house, but becomes a valuable strategist of the parliaments that were held in the valleys of the Albanian mountains of "Malaysia and Madhe", and councilor priceless war of General Ded Gjo Luli.
During the insurrection and the subsequent battle of Duciq, of 1911, Ded Gjo Luli asked her to be a spy to find the exact positions and composition of the Turkish army. She entered the role of the good Albanian woman, she loaded the wood on her shoulders and passed the Turkish block posts giving a very important contribution to the victory of the battle of Deciq, the 7 July 1911.
In all the years of combat, Tringa led the women to fight alongside the men, organized medical care for the wounded, and transported the ammunition and supplies from side to side for the soldiers, with the help of others of his companions. His figure was deeply felt in the clans of all the provinces of northern Albania.
When he opposed the practices of revenge and feuds among the families as recommended by the Kanun, his opinion succeeded in reconciling many of the "fis" (family circles) awaiting revenge. It is said that even the great Gergj Fishta said of her: "There is no man who surpasses her in wisdom and courage".
He was not lacking in protecting and upholding women's rights, and he fought in parliaments to affirm their right to choose the individual for marriages and to recognize the essential role in war and family management of the woman. After the war against the Turks, he sold his land to open schools in northern Albania. He never married and died of a serious illness at the age of 47 years.
Between courage and paradoxes
The paradox of the Albanian woman, placed on the one hand in a lower status in social life and active with respect to the man by the laws of the Kanun, on the other resumes her role as heroine or Joan of Arc in battles for independence and in feuds between families.
This is how some of them are remembered as Nore Kolja, the daughter-in-law of Ded Gjo Luli who fought beside him. While other female figures of the Albanian history of independence, for example Nora of Kelmend kills the Ottoman Pashà who wanted to reduce to ashes his land Malaysia and Madhe in the seventh century, as well as the Kosovar guerrilla heroine Shote Galica (1895 - 1927) who for 12 years fought alongside her husband in the liberation and national unification army, until her death.
At that time the Albanians, men and women, refined and courageous as reported by the NYT, consider the firearm a tool of maximum expression of their jovial manifestation and their freedom. But they live a great paradox: they do not conceive the "high organization" of a state to which to alienate the protection of their freedom and their rights.
Today, more than 100 since the publication of that article and national independence, set aside the historical value of the writing, it seems however that the content can be made actual when it speaks civilization level for the organization of a State, and use the same final prediction, saying "but they will get there".
The cover de Le Petit Journal of 28 Maggio 1911 (the first image of the article) takes up the New York Times article published on May 9 that same year
Video - Tringa and Grudes
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